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Russian diplomat draws attention to new incidents of Kiev’s crackdown on media

Ukraine's Inter TV was penalized for broadcasting the concert "Victory. One for all" on May 9

MOSCOW, July 12. /TASS/. Ukraine continues its policy of curbing freedom of speech and cracking down on journalists, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

Commenting on Kiev’s decision to penalize Ukrainian Inter television for broadcasting the concert "Victory. One for all" on May 9, to mark victory in the Great Patriotic War in which the Soviet Union fought against Nazi Germany in 1941-1945, she called this an outrageous move. "A huge part of the Ukrainian population sees May 9 as a common red-letter day for the nationals of the countries that rose to fight Nazism. Of course, this is a new outrageous move, an example of not only intolerance towards their own population, but open crackdown on the media," the diplomat said.

A session of the National Council for Television and Broadcasting of Ukraine decided to fine Inter 4.046 million hryvnias (more than $154,400) for broadcasting the concert marking Victory Day. A total of 7.3 million people watched the concert then.

Entry bans

The diplomat also drew attention to a new entry ban slapped on a media representative. Earlier this week, the Ukrainian border guards did not let into Ukraine British journalist John Warren - anchorman of Poyedem, Poyedim! (Let’s go and eat) program on Russian NTV television. Journalist’s trip to Crimea was cited as the reason. "A policy of entry bans on foreign journalists continues, besides these are not the journalists who voice political views of the developments. It is a case of full lawlessness towards any media," Zakharova said.

"This is yet another confirmation to what we have been saying - the Ukrainian authorities continue sticking to the policy aimed at totally curbing dissent, restricting the freedom to express opinions alternative to those of the Ukrainian officials. The goal is clear - depriving the population of a possibility to get objective, unbiased information about the developments in the country and in the world," she summed up.

She also reiterated on Thursday Moscow’s demand for the immediate release of Kirill Vyshinsky, Editor-in-Chief of Ria Novosti Ukraine, whose arrest in Ukraine was extended on Wednesday until September 13.

Kiev practically holds Vyshinsky as hostage, the diplomat stressed. "We demand once again the immediate release of the journalist, we expect a stronger reaction of concerned international organizations to continuing arbitrary action towards Vyshinsky," she said.

"Those international organizations that for so many years have failed to see a worsening situation with the freedom of speech in Ukraine, now fully share responsibility for the fate of Vyshinsky and possible consequences," the diplomat stressed.